Temporary Moratorium on Certain Developments

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On September 10, the City council discussed extending the development moratorium “as is” for two additional months (until December 3, 2019) to allow time for robust public outreach to educate the community about the new design guidelines and subdivision standards (see Work Plan  section below). The City Council will hold a public hearing on September 24, 2019 on Ordinance 2019-26 to extend the development moratorium. Furthermore, on September 10, the City Council also discussed whether the development moratorium should be extended beyond December 3, 2019, in order to implement affordable housing programs. A narrower development moratorium could apply to Major Site Plan Reviews and Conditional Use Permits in the Winslow Master Plan Study Area , (exception would remain for the MUTC/ Central Core Overlay District). There would also be exemptions for projects that designate 10% of dwelling units for affordable housing. Affordable housing will also be discussed at the September 17, 2019, City Council meeting.

The City Council approved a six-month extension of the development moratorium (Ordinance 2019-10, effective date April 3, 2019) at the March 26, 2019 business meeting. 

Moratorium Work Plan Topics

  • Subdivision Standards:  Revise the subdivision standards to result in residential development that reflects Comprehensive Plan goals and policies included in the land use, housing, and environmental elements. The City Council is holding a public hearing on updated subdivision standards on September 24, 2019.

  • Design Guidelines:  Update and improve the design guidelines and review process to result in higher quality development that reflects the Island's values and character.The City Council is holding a public hearing on updated design guidelines on September 24, 2019.

  • Conditional Use/Site Plan Decision Criteria:  Revise criteria to reduce subjectivity in decision-making and better ensure outcomes consistent with the Comprehensive Plan.

  • Affordable Housing:  Develop an affordable housing work program in response to Inclusionary Zoning/Transfer of Development Rights and Affordable Housing Task Force reports. The City Council is discussing these affordable housing programs. on September 17, 2019.

The City Council is provided periodic moratorium update status reports, to review the most recent click here.

Background Information

On January 9, 2018, the City Council passed Ordinance No. 2018-02, declaring a temporary six-month moratorium on the acceptance of certain development applications, with specified exclusions (“moratorium”). The moratorium was subsequently amended largely for greater clarity and specificity, and to reduce the number of development applications included. 

The moratorium was set to expire on July 9, 2018.  On June 26, 2018, the Council adopted Ordinance No. 2018-23  and extended the moratorium 90 days to allow City staff, the Design Review Board, Planning Commission and Affordable Housing Task Force to complete ongoing work.  The Council adopted Ordinance 2018-41 on September 25, 2018 which extended the moratorium an additional 180 days (April 8, 2019) to allow for continued progress. An additional amendment was adopted by the Council on November 13, 2018 in Ordinance 2018-43.

A summary of what is prohibited by the development moratorium is provided here.

Key concerns expressed by the Council in adopting the moratorium were the Council’s ongoing consideration of the Critical Areas Ordinance (CAO) update, the urgent need to address affordable housing issues, and analyze design review standards and guidelines and long subdivision review process. Given the significance of the update to those regulations, the Council expressed a need for a temporary “timeout” to allow for additional public outreach in determining how best to protect the Island’s unique environment.

Subdivision Update Quick Facts - March 1, 2019

Comments & Questions

Public participation is invited throughout the Moratorium process. Check this page for updated information, timelines, draft documents and meeting notices. You may also join an email listserv to receive timely project notifications:


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Additional Information

For more information on how the moratorium may impact your project, stop by the Planning and Community Development Counter at City Hall, call 206-780-3750 or send an email.